21st Oct 2016


Poland's ruling party back in the lead after Ukraine crisis

  • Donald Tusk (l) pictured with EU council chief Van Rompuy - the Polish PM has been meeting other EU leaders over the Ukraine crisis (Photo:

The Ukrainian crisis has been a gamechanger in Poland's European election campaign – Donald Tusk's PO was set to lose; it is now back in the lead.

Twenty-seven percent of Poles say they would vote for the centre-right Civic Platform (PO) and 26 percent for Law and Justice (PiS), according to the latest poll by TNS Polska, published on Sunday (6 April).

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

This is a significant change. For more than a year, the right-wing opposition party led by former prime minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski was 5-7 percentage points ahead of the ruling party.

Until this spring, voters were turning away from Donald Tusk's party due to growing dissatisfaction with his government, which has been in power for over six years.

Last year was not a good year for the Polish economy and unemployment increased to more than 14 percent.

However, the Ukrainian crisis and the government's strong response has changed the trend in the polls. In Poland, the PO succeeded in moving the campaign from domestic issues to foreign policy, where it feels stronger.

As tensions rose in February, Donald Tusk toured Europe and met 11 leaders of EU member states. The Polish foreign minister, together with his German and French counterparts, played a key role in resolving the crisis in Kiev.

Tusk was also very active at the European summit, when EU leaders were deciding on Europe's response to Russia's annexation of Crimea.

"This won't be elections about the banking union or who gets more money in the EU," Tusk said at the party convention on 22 April. "It is about the core of our European history; we will decide whether Europe will survive." One of the guests at the convention was Ukrainian boxer and political leader Vitali Klitschko.

PiS is trying to steer the campaign back to domestic politics, but without success.

Jaroslaw Kaczynski wanted to hold a debate with Tusk and experts on the health service, but the PM turned his offer down.

The opposition accuses Tusk of frightening voters with the threat of war. In one of his speeches, the PM said that we do not know whether "children will go to school this autumn".

"No one went that far in scaring Poles," said Leszek Miller, the leader of the left-wing SLD, which is third in the polls with 10 percent support.

"But Europe's real problems are somewhere else. They are high unemployment, the lack of perspectives for young people, growing poverty and rising euroscepticism," he added.

But while recent polls show that PO is back in the game, it does not mean that the ruling party will definitely win.

The campaign will be hard fought, as the margin in the polls between the main competitors, PiS and PO, is still very small.

EU parliament approves Juncker commission

MEPs have approved Juncker's new EU commission, with a slightly smaller majority than in 2010, and following a number of concessions on portfolios.

News in Brief

  1. Brexit could lead to 'some civil unrest' in Northern Ireland
  2. ECB holds rates and continues quantitive easing programme
  3. Support for Danish People's Party drops, poll
  4. Spain's highest court overturns Catalan ban on bullfighting
  5. Tusk: 'Concrete' migration proposals in December summit
  6. Commuters seek compensation for Swedish ID checks
  7. EU needs 'firmness and dialogue' with Russia
  8. Moment of truth is coming on Ceta, says Belgian PM

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNICEFCalls on European Council to Address Plight of Refugee and Migrant Children
  2. ECTAJoin us on 9-10 November in Brussels and Discover the new EU Digital Landscape
  3. Access NowCan you Hear me now? Verizon’s Opportunity to Stand for Global Users
  4. Belgrade Security ForumMeaningful Dialogue Missing Not Only in the Balkans, but Throughout Europe
  5. EASPDJoin the Trip! 20 Years on the Road. Conference & Photo Exhibition on 19-21 October
  6. EuropecheEU Fishing Sector Celebrates Sustainably Sourced Seafood in EU Parliament
  7. World VisionWomen and Girls Urge EU Leadership to Help end Gender-based Violence
  8. Dialogue PlatformIs Jihadism Blind Spot of Western Intellectuals ? Wednesday 26 October
  9. Belgrade Security ForumGet the Latest News and Updates on the Belgrade Security Forum @BelSecForum
  10. Crowdsourcing Week EuropeMaster Crowdsourcing, Crowdfunding and Innovation! Conference 21 November - 10% Discount Code CSWEU16
  11. EJCEU Parliament's Roadmap for Relations with Iran a Massive Missed Opportunity
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersFish Skin on Bare Skin: Turning Fish Waste into Sustainable Fashion

Latest News

  1. Malta, Latvia, and Hungary top EU obesity charts
  2. British PM asserts her role in EU 'nest of doves'
  3. Italy shields Russia from EU sanctions threat
  4. EU and Wallonia still stuck on Canada accord
  5. Dieselgate isn't my fault, says German transport minister
  6. Scotland plans independence vote before Brexit
  7. EU threatens Russia over Syria 'atrocities'
  8. EU buries migration dispute for now